COVID-19 update and Metro News; March 16, 2021

Los Angeles County continues to reopen this week as COVID-19 cases have dropped.  Here’s the rundown from the L.A. County Department of Public Health:

•Metro continues to run service for essential trips; face coverings are required unless you have a medical excuse.

•If you need a mask…

•We’re currently operating about 80 percent of our pre-pandemic bus and rail service; ridership remains down by at least half.  Metro is aiming to restore more bus service in June and then return to pre-COVID bus service levels in September. 

•Rear-door boarding continues on our bus system. Please have a valid fare with you if asked.

•Metro Rail is running trains every 12 minutes during peak hours and every 20 minutes at other times.

•Use the Transit app — Metro’s official app — to check bus and train arrivals and get estimates on crowding.

•Virtual TAP cards are now available for more recent iPhones and Android-powered phones. More info here.

In other Metro news…

•The Metro Board of Directors hold committee meetings this week. Agendas and staff reports are here. The writing in the staff reports isn’t exactly Grishamesque, but the reports offer a detailed view of what’s happening at the agency.

•Virtual meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) on a project to install peak hour bus lanes on a 1.7-mile stretch of Alvarado Street. Info here.

•The 93rd Academy Awards will be held, in part, at Union Station on Sunday, April 25. The station will remain open. Some deets here.

•Work is proceeding on the Regional Connector project in Little Tokyo — the project is tying together the A Line (Blue), E Line (Expo) and L Line (Gold) via 1.9-mile twin tunnels in DTLA.

The big task at hand is building the tunnel portal for trains coming/going from/to Azusa. If you look at the bottom left of the photo below you can see the ramp for the rail bridge over the 101 has been partially demolished as part of the work. And the street level Little Tokyo/Arts District Station is now gone, gone, gone.

•A timely subject for a fireside chat.

In the media…

The NYT asks what the $30.5 billion for transit agencies in the latest pandemic relief bill will mean for riders? Answer: at many agencies, the money should help prevent service cuts that were contemplated. Key excerpt:

Still, transportation experts warn that while the federal aid offers transit agencies some immediate respite, the stable revenue sources the agencies tend to rely on — state and local subsidies along with fares — will likely remain suppressed for years to come.

State and local governments are facing their own economic challenges, while ridership will likely not rebound to prepandemic levels anytime soon as many employers continue to allow remote work. Nationwide ridership has plateaued at about 40 percent in recent months, according to the American Public Transportation Association, a lobbying group.

•The FAA says it’s going to play hardball by levying fines to airline passengers who flout mask rules, reports the WaPo.

•The list of those running for L.A. mayor in 2022 grows to two with Councilmember Joe Buscaino, who represents San Pedro, announcing his run. He joins L.A. Controller Mike Feuer and the LAT reports other pols/developers are deep in mull-dom about running. The mayor of L.A. controls four of the 13 seats on the Metro Board, thus the reason this space is giving the mayor’s race a glancer.

Streetsblog LA doesn’t think a monorail along the 405 is the solution to building a transit line across the Sepulveda Pass between the Valley and the Westside.

•L.A. Councilmember and Metro Board Member Mike Bonin uses his podcast to host three local transit activists for an in-depth discussion of Metro service levels, law enforcement and fareless transit.

The Atlantic on the messy politics behind passing a federal infrastructure bill — something long touted by pols in the US of A.








4 replies

  1. please do not link to Streetsblog any more. that place is full of single-issue advocacy (bikes are the only legitimate form of transportation apparently) and propaganda.

    • To be fair though, they aren’t wrong about the monorail concept along the 405. Who actually wants it? Monorail only makes sense in streets that are too narrow but would still justify having them (I.E. – The Shonan monorail comes to mind).